At the presentation of the research about Senegalese immigrants.

28-01-2020Jaume Morey

In 2018, sociologist Enrique Gómez conducted research into the social situation of people from Senegal engaged in street selling. Coordinated by the church's Caritas charity, this involved 139 questionnaires and numerous face-to-face interviews.

Barbara Picornell of the Caritas social action unit says that one of the main conclusions was that Senegalese people who come to Spain do so because their lives in Senegal are "unpromising". Their "non-regulated" status in Spain, she adds, means they are highly vulnerable and unprotected.

Gómez adds that the greatest problems they face in European countries are police persecution, lack of respect, and discrimination. The majority (70%) are aged between 25 and 40 and mostly all of them have family responsibilities. Six per cent of people who move from Senegal choose to come to Majorca. Seven out of ten of them work as street sellers, three-quarters of them illegally.

Nearly all of the immigrants (96%) share accommodation. There can be as many as eight people in the same flat. This "critical condition" is due to their not earning enough.

Most money is obviously made in summer, but the research indicates that 72% of the immigrants are involved in street selling all year. Half of them have been fined at some time or another. Only three per cent have been arrested, while ten per cent say that they have suffered some form of discrimination.

Babacar Diakhate was once an illegal street seller. He has managed to move on from that life. It started in 2009. "Everyone knew that in Africa there was no future." He flew to Spain, came to Majorca and started to look for work. His dream was shattered within a couple of months. He had studied law and marketing in Senegal, but he felt "deceived". "I wasn't given any opportunity and had to look for an alternative."

He ended up in Arenal selling sunglasses illegally. He recalls that time with bitterness. "No Senegalese comes with the idea of working as a street seller."


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S.O. / Hace about 1 year

@Steve, I think you'll find that Britain actually left the EU just a couple of days before you posted your comment! Perhaps you don't remember! But whether in the EU or out, you are here illegally if you don't register within three months of arriving.


Steve / Hace about 1 year

Don’t forget about the unregistered Spanish in the Uk sponging of our state and the last time I looked Senegal wasn’t in the eu , you can’t have illegal British we are in the eu , not for much longer though 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧


S.O. / Hace about 1 year

Tree hugging snowflake? What is that supposed to mean? It’s a well-known fact that there are several thousand British people (yes, other nationalities too) living in Spain without having registered and therefore are not paying the taxes they should (and I am not referring to those whose only income is a meagre UK pension). In the meantime they are benefitting from services paid for by the taxes that we Spaniards and other foreign but legal residents contribute. If you think that illegal foreigners should be deported why not illegal British also? What exactly is the difference?


Tony / Hace about 1 year

One good comment and of course 1tree hugging snowflake


S.O. / Hace about 1 year

MelB: I trust you will agree the same should also apply to all the British people who are illegal here, i.e. those who have been here longer than three months and haven’t registered with ‘Extranjería’?


MelB / Hace about 1 year

For “non-regulated” read illegal. If illegal why are they not deported? Why should they cost the legal tax paying person anything. Look after those who reside in the Baleáric Islands legally and contribute to the economy.